The controversies surrounding the We Company’s pending public offering have been almost nonstop — and Adam Neumann has been at the center of almost all of them.
Since the WeWork parent company filed its S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month, investors have raised concerns about issues ranging from the amount of control Neumann has over the company to his leadership style to his efforts to trademark the term “We.” And now a new profile on Neumann from the Wall Street Journal has shed even more light on the enigmatic CEO. Below are some zany takeaways:
1. Can you say tequila?
The profile opens with an anecdote about Neumann smoking pot while flying across the Atlantic Ocean in a private jet last summer — a “sizable chunk” of it was stuffed into a cereal box. He also has a fondness for alcohol, particularly tequila, according to the profile.
After firing 7 percent of WeWork staffers in 2016, he treated employees to multiple rounds of tequila shots. But the report also notes that he has cut back on the partying in recent years.
2. Neumann wants to live forever.
He’s invested in Life Biosciences LLC, where the mission is “to create a future where age-related decline is not a fact of life.” Other lofty goals include becoming the world’s first trillionaire, prime minister of Israel and president of the world. As for his company, he’s apparently proposed it would “solve the problem of children without parents,” and eradicate world hunger.
3. WeWork doesn’t like bad “energy.”
Neumann has complained about the number of “B” staffers at WeWork, and has told staffers to fire 20 percent of employees per year. His wife, Rebekah Neumann, has also ordered several employees fired after spending just minutes with them because she “didn’t like their energy,” according to the Journal.
4. Neumann wasn’t ready for criticism.
After running WeWork as a private company for years, Neumann was unprepared for the market’s largely negative reaction to its pending IPO.
5. What was with that whole “no meat” thing?
Executives were caught off guard by Neumann’s 2018 announcement that WeWork was banning meat and came up with the “sustainability” rationale on their own. Former employees say Neumann has since eaten meat. [WSJ] – Eddie Small